By Jack Healey
Yes the Red Sox are off to a 2-6 start and yes the games in April mean the same as the games in October. The difference is that when you play lousy in April you have more time to recover than you do when you play lousy in October.
I have seen columns where the chances of a team making the playoffs after a 1-4 start or 2-6 or whatever the case might be don’t make the playoffs most of the time. That is true, but I would venture to guess that most teams that get off to bad starts and don’t make the playoffs are probably not very good teams in the first place. I might add that the Sox’ 2-6 record is the worst 8 game start by a defending World Series champion since the Marlins in 1998. The Marlins of course sold off most of their championship team during the off season.
Here are a few examples of teams that got off to bad starts and did very well when it was all said and done:
The 1977 Yankees started off 2-8 and won the World Series.
The 1979 Orioles started off 3-8 and went to game 7 of the World Series.
The 1998 Yankees started off 1-4 and went on to win a total of 125 games and the World Series. Of course after the 1-4 start that year the Yankees won 8 straight and won 18 out of 19.
The 2011 “chicken and beer” Red Sox started off 0-6 and were 2-10. They went on to win 90 games and didn’t make the playoffs. It really wasn’t because of their bad start and certainly that didn’t help, but because of their terrible ending. The Sox had a 9 game wild card lead going into September and blew it.
Here is the other side of a bad start.
The 1987 Milwaukee Brewers were 13-0 and won 91 games and finished 3rd.
They were an exception as most teams that get off to a fast start go on to at least make the play offs.
So my unscientific conclusion is that a fast start will get you to the playoffs most of the time, but a slow start doesn’t necessarily mean you won’t make the playoffs unless you’re just a bad team in the first place.
By the way Houston is 2-5 and the Cubs are 1-5.
Just thinking why are exhibition games in soccer called friendly’s instead of well….exhibition games?
By Jack Healey